Mice, bugs and hamsters are no longer the only way to study the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) allows scientists to map brain activity in living, breathing, decision-making human beings. Read Montague gives an overview of how this technology is helping us understand the complicated ways in which we interact with each other. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, neuroscience, science, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
In the quest to map the brain, many scientists have attempted the incredibly daunting task of recording the activity of each neuron. Gero Miesenboeck works backward -- manipulating specific neurons to figure out exactly what they do, through a series of stunning experiments that reengineer the way fruit flies percieve light. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, biology, brain, neurology, science, 2010
The human brain is puzzling -- it is curiously large given the size of our bodies, uses a tremendous amount of energy for its weight and has a bizarrely dense cerebral cortex. But: why? Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel puts on her detective's cap and leads us through this mystery. By making "brain soup," she arrives at a startling conclusi ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, evolution, neuroscience, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
At TED's Full Spectrum Auditions, comedian Joshua Walters, who's bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental "skillness." In this funny, thought-provoking talk, he asks: What's the right balance between medicating craziness away and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive? Topics: TEDTalks, Full Spectrum Auditions, TED, Talks, brain, entertainment, performance, 2011
"Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it." In this funny, enlightening talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle details the importance -- and limitations -- of your "working memory," that part of the brain that allows us to make sense of what's happening right now. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, education, memory, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? At TEDxSummit, Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment -- and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, evolution, genetics, science, TEDxSummit, 2012
Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia -- meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of "Born on a Blue Day," Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, arts, brain, culture, 2011
Tapping into the findings of his latest book, NYTimes columnist David Brooks unpacks new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences -- insights with massive implications for economics and politics as well as our own self-knowledge. In a talk full of humor, he shows how you can't hope to understand humans as separate individuals making choices based on their conscious awareness. favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, brain, culture, society, 2011
Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples' thoughts -- and judges their actions. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, morality, science, technology, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
Today, thanks to better early detection, there are 63% fewer deaths from heart disease than there were just a few decades ago. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wonders: Could we do the same for depression and schizophrenia? The first step in this new avenue of research, he says, is a crucial reframing: for us to stop thinking about “mental disorders” and start understanding them as “brain disorders.” (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, health, mental health, neuroscience, TEDxCaltech, 2013
Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, neuroscience, psychology, science, TED2012, 2012
In a lively talk, neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens makes the case for better protecting our brains against the risk of concussion -- with a compelling pitch for putting helmets on kids. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, brain, children, health, medicine, TEDxDU 2010, 2010
Here's a TED first: an animated Socratic dialog! In a time when irrationality seems to rule both politics and culture, has reasoned thinking finally lost its power? Watch as psychologist Steven Pinker is gradually, brilliantly persuaded by philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein that reason is actually the key driver of human moral progress, even if its effect sometimes takes generations to unfold. The dialog was recorded live at TED, and animated, in incredible, often hilarious, detail by... Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, philosophy, TED2012, 2012
How much of what you think about your brain is actually wrong? In this whistlestop tour of dis-proved science, Ben Ambridge walks through 10 popular ideas about psychology that have been proven wrong — and uncovers a few surprising truths about how our brains really work. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, education, psychology, TEDxYouth@Manchester, 2014
How can we begin to understand the way the brain works? The same way we begin to understand a city: by making a map. In this visually stunning talk, Allan Jones shows how his team is mapping which genes are turned on in each tiny region, and how it all connects up. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, brain, disease, science, technology, 2011
Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, neuroscience, science, self, TED2011, 2011
Deep brain stimulation is becoming very precise. This technique allows surgeons to place electrodes in almost any area of the brain, and turn them up or down -- like a radio dial or thermostat -- to correct dysfunction. A dramatic look at emerging techniques, in which a woman with Parkinson's instantly stops shaking and brain areas eroded by Alzheimer's are brought back to life. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, health care, neuroscience, TEDxCaltech, 2013
First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies -- in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, brain, entertainment, illusion, magic, 2004
At TEDxRainier, Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxRainier, TED, Talks, brain, children, language, science, technology, 2010
Sebastian Seung is mapping a massively ambitious new model of the brain that focuses on the connections between each neuron. He calls it our "connectome," and it's as individual as our genome -- and understanding it could open a new way to understand our brains and our minds. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, brain, mind, science, technology, 2010
Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all. In this fun, kind of creepy demo, the neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow uses a simple, inexpensive DIY kit to take away the free will of an audience member. It’s not a parlor trick; it actually works. You have to see it to believe it. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, demo, neuroscience, science, TED2015, 2015
There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique -- called the memory palace -- and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, memory, neuroscience, science, TED2012, 2012
Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose "machinery." Another surprise: There's so much left to learn. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, brain, neuroscience, visualizations, TED2014, 2014
As an expert on cutting-edge digital displays, Mary Lou Jepsen studies how to show our most creative ideas on screens. And as a brain surgery patient herself, she is driven to know more about the neural activity that underlies invention, creativity, thought. She meshes these two passions in a rather mindblowing talk on two cutting-edge brain studies that might point to a new frontier in understanding how (and what) we think. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, creativity, neuroscience, science, TED2013, 2013
Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting genes for light-sensitive proteins into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he's managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness. On the horizon: neural prosthetics. Session host Juan Enriquez leads a brief post-talk Q and A. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, neurology, science, technology, TED2011, 2011
Modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but neurobiologist David Anderson believes in a more nuanced view of how the brain functions. He illuminates new research that could lead to targeted psychiatric medications -- that work better and avoid side effects. How's he doing it? For a start, by making a bunch of fruit flies angry. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, insects, neuroscience, TEDxCaltech, 2013
You may remember neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis — he built the brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a paralyzed man to kick the first ball of the 2014 World Cup. What’s he working on now? Building ways for two minds (rats and monkeys, for now) to send messages brain to brain. Watch to the end for an experiment that, as he says, will go to "the limit of your imagination." Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, communication, neuroscience, TEDGlobal 2014, 2014
As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces — such as a sensory vest — to take in previously unseen information about the world around us. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, Senses, brain, technology, TED2015, 2015
When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be. (Filmed at TEDxCambridge.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, happiness, psychology, software, TEDxCambridge, 2011
After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, health, neuroscience, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. (Filmed at TEDxCERN .) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, philosophy, science, TEDxCERN, 2013
MacArthur winner Sendhil Mullainathan uses the lens of behavioral economics to study a tricky set of social problems -- those we know how to solve, but don't. We know how to reduce child deaths due to diarrhea, how to prevent diabetes-related blindness and how to implement solar-cell technology ... yet somehow, we don't or can't. Why? Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, economics, global issues, health, technology, women, TEDIndia 2009,...
We think of pain as a symptom, but there are cases where the nervous system develops feedback loops and pain becomes a terrifying disease in itself. Starting with the story of a girl whose sprained wrist turned into a nightmare, Elliot Krane talks about the complex mystery of chronic pain, and reviews the facts we're just learning about how it works and how to treat it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, health, health care, pain, science, TED2011, 2011
Robert Gupta, violinist with the LA Philharmonic, talks about a violin lesson he once gave to a brilliant, schizophrenic musician -- and what he learned. Called back onstage later, Gupta plays his own transcription of the prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, brain, education, entertainment, live music, music, violin, TED2010,...
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome -- when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, medicine, mind, neurology, psychology, TED2009, 2009
Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue (wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut) is the key to what humanity has become. Now, futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests, we should get ready for the next big leap in brain power, as we tap into the computing power in the cloud. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, AI, brain, cloud, evolution, future, technology, TED2014, 2014
Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, book, brain, children, culture, language, psychology, science, TED2003, 2003
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, neuroscience, science, youth, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Neuroscientist and inventor Christopher deCharms demonstrates a new way to use fMRI to show brain activity -- thoughts, emotions, pain -- while it is happening. In other words, you can actually see how you feel. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, business, demo, medicine, science, short talk, technology,...
Imagine being unable to say, "I am hungry," "I am in pain," "thank you," or "I love you,” — losing your ability to communicate, being trapped inside your body, surrounded by people yet utterly alone. For 13 long years, that was Martin Pistorius’s reality. After contracting a brain infection at the age of twelve, Pistorius lost his ability to control his movements and to speak, and eventually he failed every test for mental awareness. He had become a... Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TEDx, brain, communication, health, health care, mind, speech, TEDxKC, 2015
Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, culture, illness, illusion, science,...
Philosopher Dan Dennett makes a compelling argument that not only don't we understand our own consciousness, but that half the time our brains are actively fooling us. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, culture, entertainment, illusion, self,...
Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, trainer Ian Dunbar asks us to see the world through the eyes of our beloved dogs. By knowing our pets' perspective, we can build their love and trust. It's a message that resonates well beyond the animal world. Topics: TEDTalks, EG 2007, TED, Talks, animals, brain, children, love, psychology, violence, 2007
Reality isn't something you perceive; it's something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, fear, humanity, identity, motivation, personal growth,...
Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, business, education, intelligence, personal growth, psychology,...
Does collecting more data lead to better decision-making? Competitive, data-savvy companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix have learned that data analysis alone doesn't always produce optimum results. In this talk, data scientist Sebastian Wernicke breaks down what goes wrong when we make decisions based purely on data — and suggests a brainier way to use it. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, TEDx, algorithm, brain, data, decision-making, intelligence, media,...
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, cognitive science, evolution, neurology, science, TEDIndia...
Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works -- sharing her ability to "think in pictures" which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids. favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, animals, brain, design, education, invention, mental health, science,...
Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, computers, design, entertainment, interface design, mind, technology,...